Energy is the main contributor to climate change and is responsible for about 60% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

Affordable and non-polluting energy: why is this objective important?

For many decades, fossil fuels such as coal, oil, or gas have been the main sources of electricity production. However, the combustion of high carbon fuel produces large quantities of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change, as well as causing harmful effects to the well-being of the population and the environment. Besides, electricity consumption worldwide is increasing considerably.

On the other hand, our daily lives depend on reliable and affordable energy services to operate without any obstacles and in an equitable manner. A good energy system supports all sectors, such as business, medicine and education, agriculture, infrastructure, communications, and high technology. Conversely, the lack of access to the power supply and transformation systems is an obstacle to human and economic development.

As such, UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the UN 2030 Agenda requires “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. The main targets of this objective are: to guarantee universal access to affordable energy services, reliable and modern; substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy matrix; and, double the overall rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

In addition to these targets, the aim is until 2030: to increase international cooperation to facilitate access to advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology and research and to promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology. It is also intended to expand infrastructure and update technology to provide modern and sustainable energy services to everyone in developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, small island developing states, and landlocked developing countries, according to respective support programs.

Consequently, the lack of energy access can hamper efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in several regions of the world, as energy services are essential to prevent diseases and to fight pandemics, in addition to other important aspects for our day.

What are the policies established by the European Union?

Within the framework of the EU’s energy policy, the European Union faces several challenges, such as increased dependence on imports, limited diversification, high and volatile energy prices, growing global demand for energy, security risks affecting producing countries and transit, the growing threats from climate change, decarbonization, slow progress in energy efficiency, as well as the challenges posed by increasing the share of renewable energy and the need for greater transparency, greater integration, and interconnection in the energy markets.

In this regard, in 2018, the EU proposed a series of measures aimed at achieving an integrated energy market, the security of energy supply, and a sustainable energy sector, so that the following targets can be achieved by 2030:

  • A reduction of at least 40% in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels;
  • An increase to 32% of the share of renewable energies in energy consumption;
  • An improvement of 32.5% in energy efficiency;
  • The interconnection of at least 15% of the EU’s electricity systems.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, green and digital strategies are reaffirmed as the pillars for a more integrated, robust, and efficient Energy Union in the EU.

In conclusion, the world has made some progress in front of the energy transition with a steady increase in the share of renewable energies, but progress has been quite slow, particularly for modern renewable energies. This means that it will be difficult to achieve SDG 7 by 2030, as more than 10% of the world’s population continues to live without access to electricity. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic situation has further hampered this progress.

Written by : Maria Luisa Pereira


ONU. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. Available:

Sustainable Energy for All. Access to energy. Available :

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European Commission. EU approach to sustainable development. Available :

European Commission (2016).  Next steps for a sustainable European future. Available :

European Commission. Energy Policies. Available:

Matteo Ciucci (2020). Energy Policy : general principles. Available :

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